Thomas Healy

Thomas Healy novel about Glasgow, Rolling, came out last autumn and was reviewed here by Michael Hofmann.


Thomas Healy, 11 February 1993

‘Hang down your head, Tom Dooley’ was a hit song in the winter of 1958. If I was hanging mine, it was because I was a caught robber in a remand home named Larchgrove, on the Edinburgh Road, just outside Glasgow. Larchgrove was built on an incline so that as darkness fell you could see the city, a splash of lights. I was 14 then and on the fringes of the gangs. As you often met guys in rival gangs from other parts of Glasgow at Larchgrove, it was essential that you acted tough. Your whole street-future hung on how you bore up. That comes to mind as I remember the song, but mostly I remember the khaki shorts they made you wear. I felt so stupid: when you went for a pee you had either to hitch up the leg or pull down the front, and you wore no underpants. I’m sure this operation was a delight to our keepers. When I think about it now, it surprises me that the place functioned, or malfunctioned, for so long. After my time, there was a sex scandal and the place was closed down.

In the great quilted cento that is Moby-Dick, there is a passage which might be interpreted as Melville’s response to James Barry’s 1776 engraving The Phoenix or the Resurrection of...

Read More

Aunts and Uncles

Michael Hofmann, 19 November 1992

After a lost war, Hofmannsthal said, one should write comedies, and in the Twenties, within his limitations and against his genius, he did just that. I wonder what he would prescribe for the...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences